Friday, December 2, 2011

Rancho Apocalypse

I have been getting a lot of calls on my cell phone because of the interesting condition of my house after all the wind Wednesday night. We spent much of the day greeting concerned friends and neighbors out in front of the place because, and let's face it, the place is quite a sight. It looks like a war broke out, one that we didn't win.

Also the missus and I were interviewed for KCAL 9 and ABC Eyewitless News, and a lot of people have now seen that. I suspect that tomorrow we could probably clean up selling lemonade. We will also be having a sale on eucalyptus firewood in the not too distant future. If you are not aware, the smoke it gives off is considered to be quite fragrant.

The story is that the far uphill corner of Grove Street was hit by some of the fiercest winds in the area. It has been estimated by folks who claim to know this stuff that the howling vortex that squeezed down through Bailey Canyon was at times over 100 miles per hour. The grove of eucalyptus trees that used to stand just above my house couldn't quite withstand the onslaught, with the result being 3 of them fell on or near my home. Including one bad boy that hit my garage and stretches all across the house and over into my neighbor's yard. A fourth tree, a magnolia that used to shade our backyard, is down as well, taking a portion of an enclosed back porch with it.

It was an extremely wild night at our place. And needless to say, our views of the mountains have improved.

One of the odder things I noticed, and this is after I finally ventured out there into all of the howling chaos, is that the tree that landed on our house actually gave off a mist for the first few hours. It was almost like a rain. Tree tears, as one neighbor later put it.

The City of Sierra Madre has red-tagged us, which makes sense. There is something about a house with a 16 ton eucalyptus tree on top of it that does raise eyebrows, I suppose. I am posting all this from the Hilton in Pasadena. A stay paid for by the insurance company, which has been very cooperative about everything. Their business-like Sierra Madre based representative stopped by yesterday, approving all of the excitement that we have planned for today.

Our next door neighbors (they moved here from England a month or so ago) also have a eucalyptus tree on top of their house, and between us a crane has been hired to lift both of them off. A contractor who specializes in that kind of thing has arranged for something large to show up early this morning and do all that. Two tree climbers have also been hired, a line of work I had no idea existed. One of them told me that he has been looking down on the world now for 16 years.

Once the tree is off our roof The City will change the color of our tag to a far less troublesome yellow, and as long as we promise to stay out of the garage and back porch we will be allowed to return to Rancho Apocalypse. The structure of the main part of the house miraculously surviving unscathed, or at least that is what we think now. That could change after further review, of course. But we are optimistic.

All of us are fine. A little achy as we had to clear the driveway out yesterday. A friend with a buzzsaw stopped by and we managed to clear a path so that we could get the cars out. They received some interesting dings, but can still be driven. As a matter of fact, both now have that vintage well-used Sierra Madre look that typifies many of the vehicles around here. I will drive mine with pride, though I suspect things could get interesting when it rains.

That's the news. Hope things are well with you. Updates as they arrive.


  1. Can't pin this one on Mosca.

  2. I don't know. A couple of days after Joe leaves town ...

  3. I'm a little surprised I haven't seen anything from the city about volunteering to help clean-up.

    Do you have any idea where all the detritus will be taken?

  4. The city is looking to get some funding from the state to cover stuff like that is what I have heard. Pretty huge disaster.

  5. You could ask for a chain saw for Christmas and go into the firewood business. Definitely tell your insurance people not to take all that stuff away. A nice stone fireplace would be great at your house and you've got all that wonderful fuel.

    Seriously, though, I'm glad you're all safe. It's bad enough to lose a tree, but . . .

  6. you see, if we had followed SCAG mandates none of this would have happened

    john buchanan

  7. my question is will Danny Osti lower his firewood prices next season?

  8. Mosca power vacuum.

  9. Glad to hear you and the family are safe.

  10. What a shame to lose a stand of eucalyptus, not to mention access to your own home during December; glad you and yours are OK.

  11. OMG! We've been experiencing Tattler deprivation since the electricity went off! Spent a fortune on candles. Tried the computer on the generator but the alarm went cuckoo, made noises so decided it wasn't worth it.

    Crawfords! We're happy to hear you're all right as rain. Which we're hoping won't come till your new roof is on!

  12. Posting this on my battery operated iPad with the AT&T 3G connection to the great WiFi in the sky. Which means it took about half an hour to download this article. This lack of power is really giving me an Internet jones. When is Mayor Edison going to use his enormous sway with that company he works for and get us some juice? I hear other towns are back, so why not us? Damn right I'm grouchy. I can't read stock reports on my computer. Market goes through the roof and all I get to read are cereal boxes. Power to the people right now, man! If things don't improve soon I am going to occupy something.

  13. That's it! Our mayor works for edison. And all the city gives us is the same vague 24-48hours over and over. Now the am times does not even include a mention of sm in the cities with no electricity totals. Edison says that it can't restore power because it can't get to the lines through the blocked streets. Crawford got a monster crane in. I call bs. Has anyone seen an Edison truck? How about our lobbyist mayor?

  14. Actually, 5:48 pm, we were out and about yesterday and fleets of Asphlund and SoCalEdison trucks were working their up Santa Anita, Baldwin, and Michillinda toward Sierra Madre. At 9:20 pm power came back to the Canyon. Canyonites were doing what they do best: partying! Those of us who have been through tough times were prepared with candles, camp stoves, a number of generators could be heard droning away, and battery operated/solar lights broke through the darkness as well. City crews were toiling to clear streets, and at dusk the giant eucalyptus were off the Crawford roof. A spokesperson for the family says they are well and planning a remodel of the damaged portions of the house. A cautionary word to all: maintain your insurance coverage and make your payments. $$$$ + insurance = giant crane!

  15. No power here. Freezing our tails off, too.

  16. "vague" at 5:58 am: what happened to your mother's admonition that if you can't say anything nice don't say anything at all and something a friend taught me years ago (40)--do your research before you say anything that a person might make a decision based on or they will never listen to you again?

    I know that many of us are at that point with the city (#2 above) but stand back and size up the big picture--you are a very small part of that picture.

    City Hall had CERT volunteers helping with phone call information for the citizens yesterday and gave out the information as per Edison updates. Lots of people were/are (50% of Temple City still aso of 7 a.m.) affected by the down power lines and electrical outages and safely, timely and as quickly as possible power was restored.

    Count yourself lucky if you did not have major property damage, tree loss and for what I have read/heard no loss of life.

    Now, a Red Flag Alert is called for today. So, always work to prepare yourself and your family for all emergencies.

    Prepare, prepare, prepare and then you will be able to help yourself and you neighbors and possibly complain less.

  17. Dearest Crawford family, glad you are safe, glad you had insurance! 100 mile an hour winds!
    big hugs from OK. Still not got internet so having to read three days stories at once.

    Today is December 4th the last update from the city was December 1st. Thanks for keeping us informed...not!

  19. Big button right under Welcome: Click here for Windstorm 2011 Updates! Do so and you will see updates through Friday. December 1st was the last day City Hall was officially open, although emergency services kept working through the weekend. Additionally, if you sign up for e-blasts, more Windstorm 2011 Updates were pushed to residents. The Sierra Madre Emergency Radio Station, Facebook, and Twitter feeds also attempted to get information out to residents.

    The City and City staff is working hard, including the CERT volunteers. Thanks to all.

  20. Drove through town late afternoon yesterday and most of the merchants were open for business. Folks were snacking, coffeeing, loading up on burgers and dogs at Taylors, and with the exceptions of a couple of streets, thoroughfares are open. Not all power is back, yet. Edison seems to be saying Sunday night. Thanks to the Ralphs on Foothill in Arcadia for powering up to provide food and water to weary residents, as well as Albertson's. My hat is off to the tree trimmers and power wire people who are hanging off compromised trees, power poles, and in cherry pickers and cranes in the cold, in the dark, and for long, long hours. We're indeed fortunate to have an army of workers trying to get us all on line.

  21. Talked with the residents of Rancho Apocalypse a short time ago. The good news is that they slept in their own beds last night. The tree is off the roof and it has been tarped in the event of rain.

    John sends his best to all for your thoughts and concerns. He tells me he's working on a piece for tomorrow, while figuring out the logistics of getting it posted sans electricity.

    All comments are being moderated: if its fit to post, it'll be posted!

  22. Still no power in the western hillside neighborhoods. Nice that Edison was giving out flashlights at the park yesterday. I guess that is their way of saying we're going to need them.

  23. Long time SM residentDecember 4, 2011 at 11:02 AM

    How about a shout out to Matt Krantz, owner of the Beantown, for all he has done to keep his business open so folks in town would have somewhere to go for a hot meal and some fellowship, charge cell phones, exchange info, get onto the Internet...I didn't see Starbucks do ANYTHING LIKE THIS...Thank you Matt.....SUPPORT YOUR LOCAL BUSINESS OWNERS..OCCUPY YOUR OWN CITY!

  24. The only coffee I have had since the storm is at Beantown. Big gratitude here!

  25. Dect 4 @ 7:04 a.m. The e-mail posting from the city kept up daily,
    #1 on De 1 through #9 on Dec. 3., which was posted at 5 p.m. Your connections through the ether was off so that and probably a few other emergency preparations need your attention.

    #1--City had emergency back up for pumping water. Safe to drink. But what about other emergencies you need to prepare for?

    #2--Without electricity in some areas of town. Flash lights, head lamps, camp lanters and all the bateries you will need. Long shelf life. Go shopping!

    #3--Food. Too bad the public has not seen fit to fund the part of education that would prepare you to know how to keep you food safe for as long as possible in the case of a power outage (home economics long gone from the curriculum). Those with backpacking knowledge before the advent of all the freeze dried conveniences know what last a very long time without refridgeration. You campers out there know how long you went between getting another bag of ice and still ate the food and still lived to tell about it.

  26. YEA, POWER ON, Sunday at 3:00 p.m. This is a great wake-up call for Sierra Madre. Thought we were uber prepared, yet found several things we have to stock up on, specially if all surrounding areas would be effected during a real emergency.

  27. The Northwest corner seems to be where the most damage was done to Edison's equipment.

  28. Our power went out here on E. Sierra Madre blvd. around 9:00 Wednesday night.
    It just came back on at 4:30.
    We cheered the edison trucks! People honked horns.
    John and I can't remember when we spent a colder night than last night, Sat. We slept in ski clothes!
    I had called Crawford a few days ago, and he told me about his disaster area. WOW, I really can't remember when I've seen more damage here in Sierra Madre or Arcadia. We've lived here since 1965.
    Thanks fot Caroline Brown and Roger Brown for stopping by to see how we were doing.
    It was comforting to hear Caroline's voice over the Sierra Madre radio station last night.
    I knew we would all be "rescued" but didn't know when.
    Take care and stay warm tonight, Sierra Madre Tattlers! To our friends far away, glad you all missed this one!


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